With its 24 hour race as a pillar, Le Mans is steering toward new mobilities

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© Maxime Guillon / Sarthe Dévelopement

The city of Le Mans (Atlantic France) is world-famous for its prestigious endurance race. The event plays a major role in the economic environment and is an accelerator to drive innovation, in particular in the field of sustainable mobility.

You can’t really dream of better ambassadors than Christian Bale and Matt Damon! The 24 hour race created in 1923 put Le Mans on the world map long ago, but the recent Hollywood movie, Le Mans 66, boosted its fame even further.

Driven by the visibility offered by this event, the city has become a hotspot of the automotive industry and hosts key players such as Gruau, Renault, GKN and Class. A 3,000m² Porsche Experience Center also opened there in 2015.

An ideal laboratory for innovation

The 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been a cradle of innovation. The dynamic has been reinforced by the organiser, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), creating a technopark next to the circuit which welcomes startups and R&D teams.

Le Mans also hosts an office of the innovation cluster ID4CAR and counts on a quality talent pool in the mobility sector. In particular, the city hosts the FFSA drivers academy, the school Escra (Higher School of Automotive Trade Networks) and a university with several diplomas linked to the automotive field.

In pole position to boost smart mobility

In the mobility sector, the priority is to develop more sustainable vehicles. Le Mans is home to innovative companies such as E4V, which has become one of the French leaders for lithium batteries, Furion Motorcycles (hybrid motorbikes) and Ian Motion (electric conversion of vintage cars).

France aims to become a pioneer in green hydrogen, and Le Mans Métropole has already launched a partnership with the ACO to build the first hydrogen station of Atlantic France. The association has also developed a hydrogen racing car prototype, and a hydrogen powered category will be created for the 2024 edition of the 24-hour race.

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